‘I Will Be Champion’ – Confident Nico Carrillo Plans To Prove He’s Elite With Knockout Of Muangthai
Nico Carrillo has gotten exactly what he wanted following an impressive TKO victory in his ONE Friday Fights debut back in April.
The Scottish phenom immediately asked to face a high-profile name in Muangthai PK Saenchai, and his wish was granted. Now, he’ll go head-to-head with the decorated Thai star in a bantamweight Muay Thai clash at ONE Friday Fights 22 on June 23.
Eager to build on that third-round stoppage of Furkan Karabag, Carrillo saw “Elbow Zombie” as the perfect opponent to prove that he belongs among the division’s elite.
The strikers will square off at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand – where Muangthai previously earned a prestigious Muay Thai World Title – and “King of the North” knows it’s a golden opportunity to elevate his status in the organization.
He told ONEFC.com:
“I said to ONE, ‘I want to fight Muangthai.’ I don’t want to go into ONE Championship and work my way up. Give me the hardest fight. I’ll put them away, and then I’ll get the big contract.
“I don’t want any stepping stones. I don’t want to waste any fights. I want to get straight to it. I want to show that I am the best.”
Muangthai will certainly present a difficult test on Friday.
The red-hot competitor has won six of his seven bouts in ONE – including his last three – and most recently knocked out Kulabdam Sor Jor Piek Uthai to cement himself as a top-tier bantamweight and a World Title threat.
But while Carrillo respects his foe’s game, he sees himself as the far better all-around fighter and expects to dominate no matter how the contest plays out.
The 24-year-old explained:
“I think his pressure is his best attribute, to be honest. I think if he stood in front of me and didn’t put the pressure on, it would be even worse for him. So I think that’s the best thing he can do, but we’ve trained for that.
“I think I have the advantage everywhere. You need to have something on me to beat me. If you’re going into a fight with me, and you’re not faster or you’re not bigger or you don’t hit harder, then I’m just gonna rip your head off.”
Carrillo Promises To Finish Muangthai Inside Two Rounds
Nico Carrillo has blasted his way through elite opponents on the national and international circuits to rack up a 24-3-1 professional record and earn his place at ONE Friday Fights. Still, many people view him as the underdog against Muangthai PK Saenchai.
“King of the North” is not fazed by those opinions, and he thinks Jonathan Haggerty’s recent dethroning of longtime divisional king Nong-O Gaiyanghadao shows that anything can happen when two skilled strikers go toe-to-toe.
Taking motivation from “The General’s” stunning performance, Carillo plans to deliver a similar result and thrust himself into the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title picture – where he has even greater ambitions.
“Everybody was saying no one can beat Nong-O. I said to my coach, ‘If anybody can cause the upset, it’s Jonathan Haggerty.’ And he did. Every dog has his day. For every great, there’s always someone younger and hungrier who wants it.
“That’s why we asked for Muangthai. When I knock out the ONE Championship-signed fighter, where does that leave me? You have to put me on the big shows. You have to put me in with the top guys. You have to put me in the title race.
“I will be champion. I have no doubts about that. I’d bet my house on it.”
If the Scottish upstart can add Muangthai’s scalp to his already impressive resume, he will surely take a giant step closer to his goal of claiming ONE World Title gold in the future.
And with his vision crystal clear, Carrillo feels more than ready to prove himself with another memorable knockout victory.
“I see myself moving well, I see myself not giving in to his relentless pressure, and I see him walking into horrible, horrible shots, and me putting his lights out.
“I don’t think he’ll make it out of round two, but I am going to try and hit him with some heavy shots in the first round.”